Article Discussion Point Gaming

Discussion Point: I Don’t Want to Play a Female!

If you have not payed much attention to gaming news as of late, please allow me sometime (i.e. like a sentence) to get you caught up. Rust, a MMO survival game, recently patched their game to assign gender based on username and random chance. Many gamers are now enraged that they are being forced to play as a gender they are not. Many more are unchanged by this but the backlash has been pretty vocal about it all. But why is it vocal? Why are so many gamers upset about having to play as a gender that they are not? Well everyone looks at their characters a bit differently. When many play a game, whether it is a shooter, RPG, MMO or racing game, we want our characters to at least represent us. We want to be able to have them become avatars of our personality in the digital world. So therefore we expect them to be male or female, possibly cat for those cat gamers out there. That is unless you are like myself and you mainly play female characters but why do we do this? Why do you play only as one gender? Why not both? Or why not play the opposite of your real-life gender? Well it all has to do with psychology and just general perception/comfort.

When talking about comfort in playing another gender, most gamers have preconceived conceptions, the Female characters get all the attention, both positive and negative attention, while the male characters get a generally considered mild one. But why? Well to be frank, we are nice to female characters because we more often than not, genuinely believe a girl is playing that character. So we woo them over, we give them gold and hope that they might be able to appreciate us more. It is almost a courtship type of behavior when one thinks about it. Then there are the behaviors that are overtly sexualized and degrading to most, if not all, female characters that you encounter online. They are subject to berating comments and to advances that they generally do not want to receive at all. Thanks to Rust’s update, several male players have reported that they felt uncomfortable having many other players hover over them, doting on their every move and just generally being nasty. It has been enough for some players to retract remarks regarding their vocal opinions but many are still angry over having to play a certain gender.

This is causing the community to look back on how they play games and how they interact through their characters. It has also given players new look on how they also perceive their virtual gender. I for one can safely say that I have never had this issue. I actually enjoy playing the female characters more, based on the simple fact that they generally have better outfit choice (Not talking MMO Armor here), more options in character customization and they generally left me feeling normal while playing as my female characters. Others just don’t feel as comfortable. They wish to stick to what we would consider gender norms. Men should play as men and women should play as women. This sort of shut in philosophy does the community more harm than good, especially when you force others into playing a gender they aren’t or when you try to force those around you to experience diversity. While it is great that we are getting players to play female characters, you are creating a sort of forced friction. Some will react positively, some may have realizations while the rest may just spew forth more toxicity into the culture. Sure the developers of Rust could have prepared players for this in a future update however, I feel that the tide of initial rage is done with, as the developer has made it very clear that they are sticking to their guts.  However this begs the question, if these players have played games where they know they have to play as a female, what are the sort of reactions then? What of games like Final Fantasy XIII where you predominately play as Lightning Farron? Do they play without complaint due to already knowing this? Do these gamers in question even play games with dominantly lead female characters? It is a question that I wish I could see addressed in large by the bigger news outlets such as IGN or Kotaku. Heck, I may even dive into the subject and conduct my own research on it. The fact remains though that as gamers we all come into gaming with biased tastes and preconceived notions of who we want to play as. It can be something that is just innate within us or something that has developed over time.

We are however curious as to what you all feel and think in regards to your gender and the gender you play in games. Do you play a man but you are a woman? Or do you play a woman but you are a man? Feel free to let us know your opinions on the matter and if you happen to have been playing Rust during this time of transition.

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7 comments

  1. I’ve used quite a few different handles over the years for games, sites, etc. They’re always female, but quite a few assume I’m male. Sometimes I think only about 50% of them really believe I’m female even after I tell them.

    But I almost always play as a female when I can. I like playing as a girl. I even tend to favor female teams in single-player RPGs or action games. FFXIII though is a good game to have an all-female team. Unless you knew to make Snow magic-oriented, Lightning-Fang-Vanille is an awesome party. I kind of wonder if there would have been a bigger reaction if it were released now. “SE totally gave into the sjws and made the females better than the guys!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like this! I think that it would have had maybe a better reaction? Seeing as stuff with female leads, i.e. Rouge One/Force Awakens has gotten some very positive but also strong flak. I personally play females because, like I said in the article, there are more customization options. That and I was the only guy in my family growing up so I am bit more inclined to play females. : P

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A lot of people pitched a fit about the new Ghostbusters movie, and then there’s the whole Gamergate thing…just would be interesting to see. If only real life had save scumming to see all endings. 😛

        Being the only guy must have made life very interesting for you!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I would like to think it gave me a more diverse pallet! Indeed, a lot of the social BS that has been going on is just silly as heck… We are all human for goodness sake!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think it makes sense for a game to take away the choice for players. That said, it doesn’t make sense to be overly infuriated by being assigned a random character either particularly when everyone else is being assigned a random character. Maybe the whole situation is just a little bit overblown?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It could very well be. Situations in the gaming industry tend to be overblown. But gender relation is s hot topic so I can understand if it rubbed others the wrong way. It’s a silly thing to get upset over, at least from my view.

      Like

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